Sundowns drop points but survive Al Hilal onslaught

By Michael Madyira

Khuliso Mudau sent a message to Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos with a crucial goal in Mamelodi Sundowns’ 1-1 Caf Champions League draw with Al Hilal in Omdurman on Saturday.

Fresh from being snubbed in the Bafana final squad for the upcoming 2023 Afcon qualifiers, Mudau struck in the 67th minute before the hosts replied through Mohamed Abdelrahman five minutes later.

Group B leaders Sundowns then survived being handed their first defeat since October 2022 when substitute Ather El Tahir missed from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

Thanks to Sundowns goalkeeper Ronwen Williams’s costly error, Al Hilal had struck back into the game but the Bafana captain atoned for his mistake to deny El Tahir.

Having already qualified for the quarter-finals, the Premier Soccer League champions now have a chance to sign off this group phase in style and are unbeaten when they host Cotonspot on 31 March.

Second-placed Al Hilal went into this match needing victory to avoid facing a must-win scenario against Al Ahly in their last group match but they were restricted at home.

Masandawana’s first attempt at goal was Teboho Mokoena’s long range shot in the sixth minute which went just wide.

Shortly after, Williams was to be tested for the first time through Glody Lilepo’s stinging shot and Ousmane Diouf’s headed effort in successive attempts.

Williams was back to deny Congolese forward Lipo again from a one-on-one situation as Al Hilal became a serious threat.

But coach Florent Ibenga was forced to alter his plans in the first half following injuries to Ghanaian defender Ibrahim Imoro and Mwafag Toto, replacing them with Faris Abdallah and Ather El Tahir respectively.

The visitors almost broke the deadlock on the brink of halftime when Mokwena’s shot fooled Al Hilal keeper Ali Abu Eshrein who was saved by the crossbar. 

Four minutes into the second half, Abu Shahrein fumbled another Mokwena attempt but was lucky to watch it sail just wide.

Mudau then thrust Sundowns ahead by sweeping home a rebound from an Aubrey Modiba freekick to break the deadlock.

Their celebrations were cut short by Abdelrahman who benefited from a Williams howler off a Mothobi Mvala back pass to finish into an empty net.

Al Hilal thought they were to get a last-gasp win but El Tahir missed from the penalty spot after Brian Onyango had brought him down inside the box.

Pictured above: Khuliso Mudau tries to get past Al Hilal’s Mohamed Abdelrahman as Themba Zwane looks on

Image source: Mamelodi Sundowns


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